Even in supposed defeat, LaVar Ball is winning.
The face of the world’s newest professional basketball league has been raked across the coals for what critics have described as sparse attendance at the games that feature lower tier talent in the Junior Basketball Association’s (JBA) inaugural season. But after just about three weeks’ worth of games, online metrics show that there was a much higher interest in the JBA than critics care to admit, no matter who was running the league.
With all of its games streamed on Facebook, the JBA has averaged “between 100,000 and 200,000 views” for each contest, according to a report published in the Undefeated on Friday. When Ball’s son and star player, LaMelo, plays, his “games have closer to 800,000.”
Those enviable analytics could end up helping to disprove the naysayers who have gleefully predicted the demise of the JBA – and LaVar Ball – since the day it was announced. Those statistics could also pave the way for “views of more than a million per game” and “potential Fortune 500 advertisers,” Ball’s JBA co-founder Alan Foster said. If that were to become a reality, the longevity and overall sustainability of the league would be all but solidified.
While it’s tough to accurately translate those views into immediate dollars, Facebook’s continued relationship with Ball – don’t forget he has a successful reality show in its third season streamed and documenting his family life – shows LaVar’s brand has an audience the social network trusts to reliably bring in a dedicated viewership, something that is far from a guarantee in digital media.
And before you go dismissing shows on Facebook as inconsequential, the uber-successful, all-world soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo was reportedly negotiating a deal for his own reality show to stream on the social site. If it goes through, he could make an eye-popping $10 billion for just 13 episodes, according to CNBC.
Now, of course that doesn’t mean LaVar will ever see that kind of money from Facebook (or does it?). But given that payday for Ronaldo, it’s pretty safe to assume Ball’s compensation from Facebook alone will reach, if not break, the seven-figure mark.
That’s not including revenue from his Big Baller Brand sports apparel company and other professional ventures and business dealings that the public may not know about. (Never mind the fact that Ball has created a viable alternative to college basketball – which has repeatedly been likened to slave labor – that actually pays its players on their quest to ultimately compete in the NBA or other professional leagues around the world.)
Not bad for a guy who’s been branded by critics as a loudmouth helicopter dad who jeopardized the basketball careers and overall livelihood of his children while trading barbs with the president, who supposedly negotiated the jail release of son LiAngelo for trying to steal a Louis Vuitton belt.